Author: Barbara Dunlop

Publisher: Harlequin

Release Date: August 2008

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5

Format: PRINT

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The odds were against them from their first meeting. She’s twenty-eight and he’s fifty. Neither family is happy about the fact that Crystal Hayes and Larry Grosso are seeing one another privately.

Crystal Hayes is a young widow who lives from paycheck to paycheck. Her father runs a machine shop and she works for him by making deliveries. In her spare time she writes articles and uses that money to supplement her meager income. She lives in the apartment over her father’s business.


One morning as she drives toward the Grosso NASCAR garage to make a delivery, she spies an ad for her favorite ice cream place. Does she spend the money for a cone of her favorite treat or does she save her pennies for that pizza she wants for dinner? The treat wins and in the process, Crystal sees a dog tied to a tree. She leaves her name and phone number for the animal control officer. No way is she leaving that poor dog to the elements.


When she arrives at the Grosso garage and begins to unload the box, a voice behind her offers to help. The guys in the shop tease him and he apologizes to her for their rudeness. She insists that it’s her job to get the box out of the truck and finish the delivery.


Larry Grosso, a mathematics professor, isn’t involved in the day-to-day operation of the family’s race team. He lost his wife some years before and hasn’t been too interested in dating until he meets Crystal. There’s something about this gorgeous young woman and he’s determined to uncover the mystery and take her out to dinner – for starters.


Their budding relationship seems to run into one obstacle after another. The biggest problem is Crystal’s sister and her problems. More often than not, Larry and Crystal abandon their plans to take care of her niece and nephew. In fact, their first dinner plans go awry when her sister insists that she abandon her plans to take care of the children. The sister is involved with the ex-husband who tends to be a bad influence on everyone.


To Crystal’s dismay, Larry decides that maybe their families are right and he breaks up with her. The difference in their ages is one thing. Add to that the snide comments from their families and people in the garage area and at the race tracks. To Larry, the most important thing is that he can no longer father children. She deserves someone who will love her and give her the babies she wants. Crystal disagrees but he stands firm in his decision.


There are forces at work that will make what they want pale in comparison to what they’re called on to do. A call from Crystal’s niece is the catalyst that changes their lives and brings them closer than ever.


The lives of the secondary characters add a further depth to the story. At times it’s like a comedy of errors at work to keep Larry and Crystal apart. Sometimes these interruptions are very funny but more often than not, they’ll pull at your heart strings. A variety of unexpected events pop up when least expected that keep the story alive and the reader guessing what’ll happen next.


Barbara Dunlop’s OVERHEATED is a book that you cannot put down – literally. Once I began, I couldn’t lay it aside until the last page. I laughed, I had tears in my eye and I cheered on a budding relationship that very few wanted to see happen other than the two involved. Ms. Dunlop does a beautiful job of telling this story. It’s believable. The sensualness of Crystal and Larry’s relationship is implied rather than detailed. The visuals are fantastic.


Oh, remember Rufus? Crystal’s really in for a surprise when the deceased owner’s attorney pays her a visit.


Whether or not you’re a NASCAR fan, you do not want to by-pass this book. It’s recommended and it deserves a place on the Keeper Shelf.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Nickie Langdon

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Romance Junkies Content Editor: Chrissy

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